Guest Author: Valerie Bowman & Giveaway!

I’ve got one of my favorite people in the world returning to the blog today.  She’s Valerie Bowman, and she writes absolutely delicious and charming Regency-set historical romance.  Valerie’s first book, Secrets of a Wedding Night, garnered wonderful reviews and was nominated by RT Book Reviews as Best Debut Historical Romance of 2012.

Let’s turn the blog over to Valerie as she tells us about her latest Regency story.

Why I Really Wrote A Secret Proposal: Girl Power in a Regency Novella!

Ok, I’ll admit. The main reason I wrote my very first novella (A Secret Proposal, story 1.5 of the Secret Brides series) was because my agent and editor thought it would be a good idea. I’d never written a shorter story before and I wondered if I’d be able to fit an entire story into something a third of the length of a regular novel. I was intrigued, however, so I gave it a try. Well, intrigued and compelled. Compelled by the REAL reason I wrote the story.

You see, I am a card-carrying feminist. I grew up with a mom and seven sisters. Then I went to an all-women’s college. I’m seriously pro-girl power! And there was just something about a certain character and interaction that went down in my first novel, Secrets of a Wedding Night, that I could NOT leave alone. In that story, the heroine, Lily, writes a scandalous pamphlet entitled SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT that has London’s society virgins scared witless. She even delivers a copy of the thing to a one Miss Amelia Templeton who, as a result, cries off from her engagement from the handsome, dashing Marquis of Colton.

Now, Lily has her reasons, and she and Devon, the marquis, are clearly meant to be together, but I always wanted to answer the question: Whatever happened to Amelia Templeton?

Regrettably, Lily says some mean things to the poor girl in the first book and me, being a feminist, well, I just couldn’t allow that girl fight to continue. I had to clear the air between the two ladies. Lily needed to apologize and recognize how badly she’d behaved and Amelia, who didn’t really love Devon to begin with, needed to earn her own happily ever after.

So, it absolutely no coincidence that A Secret Proposal, my first novella, is the story of what happened to Amelia. I always wanted to tell it but I knew it was not going to be a main part of the trilogy. The novella opportunity presented itself and was absolutely perfect. In A Secret Proposal, you’ll see Amelia and Lily finally have it out, Lily deliver her mea culpa and Lily and Devon actually play an important part in Amelia’s story with a fun and unexpected twist.

The story begins with Amelia, knowing her mother is angry at her for losing the titled marquis, making a list of eligible titled men whom she may marry. She’s determined to land a peer this time, but first she must get over her fear of a wedding night. Enter, her brother’s best friend, Mr. Thaddeus Hammond. Thad hasn’t seen Amelia in three years, the night her brother died. But Thad promised her he’d do anything she ever needed him to, he just didn’t expect that she’d ask him to spend an illicit night with her.

So, if you’re interested in a fast-paced romp through Regency England with a determined debutante, a professional boxer with a sordid past, and some newly minted friends, take a peek at A Secret Proposal.

What’s your favorite story where former rivals team up together? One lucky commenter will win a copy of the e-novella (e-format of your choice). Void where prohibited. 

Vanessa, here.  To help Valerie celebrate the release of her fabulous novella (doesn’t it sound awesome?!) I’ll also add a copy of my book, Mastering The Marquess, to the prize package.  One person who comments will win both Valerie’s digital novella and my book!


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

Valerie Bowman writes Racy Regency Romps with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging storylines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands! Publishers Weekly calls Secrets of a Wedding Night, an “enchanting, engaging debut that will have readers seeking future installments” and Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “This fast-paced, charming debut, sparkling with witty dialogue and engaging characters, marks Bowman for stardom.” Booklist gave it a starred review! You can find Valerie on the web at and on Facebook and Twitter.

Secrets of a Wedding Night was nominated by RT Book Reviews as the Best Debut Historical Romance Novel of 2012! The novel is available on Amazon | Barnes and Noble |  Books a Million and wherever books are sold!

Guest Author: Brenda Jernigan & Giveaway!

I’m very pleased to have historical romance author Brenda Jernigan visiting the blog today.  Brenda’s books have won The Book Seller’s Best Award, the Maggie Award, and the prestigious Holt Medallion.  As Publishers Weekly said, her books are all about “romance, adventure, and magic.”

Like many wonderful authors, some of Brenda’s books have been out of print or just too darn hard to get.  Fortunately, digital and indie publishing has changed all that.  Here’s what Brenda herself has to say on the subject:

I’m Brenda Jernigan and I’ve been writing for what seems like a long time.  I sold my first book on April Fool’s day 1978.  I like that.  At least I can always remember when I first sold!

I’ve taken the last few years off from writing.  Between writing books and driving 45 minutes each way to a regular job it became too much, so I called a halt to everything and cancelled the last 2 books of my last contract.  However, now that I’ve retired it is fun to pick up the books again.  I’ve been trying to get all my old books into e-book format for everyone who has an e-reader. 

And we’re certainly glad you have, Brenda!  And the book we’re featuring today looks awesome–it’s called Christmas in Camelot.  How perfect for the upcoming holiday season!

Isn’t that a beautiful cover?  And I am so down with the idea of spending Christmas in Camelot!  This book got great reviews, including this one from Pages Magazine:

“Brenda Jernigan does what no other author has accomplished yet: create a special place of honor for you at fabled Camelot’s Christmas holiday celebration. It’s a fresh change of pace and picked number 1 in my book.”

Here’s the blurb for Christmas in Camelot:

The Greatest Gifts . . . Are always unexpected . . .

There was a king – King Arthur of Camelot

There was a knight – Sir Nicholas the Dragon

There was a wager that each swore he would win . . .

Lady Noelle has no intention of marrying just to save her family’s castle. She feels nothing for Sir Gavin, the man who will become her husband on Christmas Day. Then she spies Camelot’s newest knight, the notorious Sir Nicholas the Dragon, a champion as renowned for his prowess in the beds of Camelot’s maidens as for his skill in battle. Noelle’s heart has found the man she longs for, even as her hand is promised to another.

Christmas may never come to Camelot.

Sounds great!  To read an excerpt and to check out Brenda’s other books, visit her website.  Brenda is currently putting her backlist up in digital, which is great news for her readers!

For my readers today, Brenda is giving away a copy of Christmas in Camelot.  I always loved reading the legends of King Arthur, and I really enjoy all the various movies and TV shows that recreate the legends.  Who’s your favorite Camelot character?  Or is there any TV show or movie adaptation that you particularly liked?  Just tell us to win a copy of Brenda’s fab book!



Guest Author: Mia Marlowe & Giveaway!

Mia Marlowe writes absolutely gorgeous historical romance, and she’s got the phenomenal reviews to back it up.  Her last book, Touch of a Rogue, was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Top Ten Romances for Spring 2012.  Pretty cool, eh?

Mia has a new book out, and she’s here to tell us all about it.

Can you tell us a bit about your Touch of Seduction series? What’s the premise behind it?

First of all, thanks for having me here today, Vanessa. My Touch of Seduction series is near and dear to my heart and I hope readers will find it great fun, too.  In each of the stories, my hero or heroine has the “gift of touch”—a psychometric gift that allows them to glean information by touching certain objects. It’s an occupational hazard for my jewel thief heroine in TOUCH OF A THIEF. It’s a help sometimes to my enquiry agent hero in TOUCH OF A ROGUE. And in TOUCH OF A SCOUNDREL, my hero sees it as a curse because in his case, he sees the future but cannot do anything to change it.

Your lovely historicals contain a touch of the paranormal. What do you like about combining historical romance with the paranormal?

I adore both sub-genres. Nothing takes me away quite so well as a historical hero in glossy Hessians with a sword at his hip. My paranormal elements are pretty tame compared to some. I don’t have any vampires or shifters. My characters are ordinary people with extraordinary gifts. I like to think my magical elements are things that might actually happen.

The heroine in Touch of a Scoundrel is a bit different from the average historical miss or seductive courtesan. Can you tell us a bit about her?

Ah, yes. Emmaline Farnsworth, adventurer, dutiful daughter and con artist. She and her foster father have bounced around Europe hocking fake reliquaries. Now they’re in possession of an unusual Egyptian artifact which they hope to parlay into a big score. They’ve convinced Theodore Nash to fund a bogus expedition, but unfortunately, it’s his older brother, Griffin, the Earl of Devonwood who holds the purse strings. And Griffin is no one’s fool. Emma has never run such a trying long con. She’s fending off the offers of marriage from the younger brother while fighting the wild attraction she feels for the elder.

Like so many authors, you’ve been venturing into the realm of indie publishing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

I’m very excited to be writing for both Kensington and Sourcebooks, but indie publishing is opening up some new opportunities as well. I’ve self-published 4 novels and 3 novellas since last fall and readers have been writing to let me know they love it. I’ve been fortunate to be able to partner up with a group of talented traditionally published authors who are also self-publishing to form a self-published brand called Rock*It Reads. My partners in crime are: my lovely host today—Vanessa Kelly, Pamela Clare, Elisabeth Naughton, Monica Burns, Kris Kennedy, Margo Maguire, Lila DiPasqua, Sharon Page and Joan Swan. Check out my Books page for my Rock*It Reads titles.

GIVEAWAY: Leave Mia a comment or question today and you’ll be entered in the random drawing. One lucky person will win a copy of  TOUCH OF A ROGUE, Book 2 in the Touch of Seduction series and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top 10 Romances for Spring 2012! Another winner will receive TOUCH OF A LADY, my enovella prequel to the series in your choice of Kindle or Nook format.

Here’s a question to get the conversation going: If you could have any special paranormal ability, what would it be?

Vanessa, here.  Thanks for joining us today, Mia!  Folks, be sure to visit Mia’s website for all her book news (she has lots), and to read an excerpt of her latest book!  And be sure to check the blurb for Touch of a Scoundrel:

Griffin Nash, Earl of Devonwood, wants to believe that he’s seducing Miss Emmaline Farnsworth out of protectiveness for his young brother. After all, if his brother is convinced that the tantalizing professor’s daughter is unworthy of his trust, perhaps Teddy will lose all interest in such an inappropriate choice for his station.

But in truth, something else motivates Devonwood: a scintillating vision he’s had of a future tryst with the lovely Emmaline. A vision too realistic to be doubted–and too scaldingly passionate to be denied.

Yet Emmaline is not as easily tempted as Devonwood might have hoped–nor is she actually in pursuit of a wealthy husband. No, the real reason for her visit to the manor is something much more shocking… though being enticed by a dashing earl may prove to be a most welcome by-product of her schemes…

And don’t forget to answer Mia’s question for a chance to win her books!


Guest Author: Sally MacKenzie & Giveaway!

I’m featuring one of my favorite historical romance authors – and people! – on the blog today.  She’s Sally MacKenzie, a USA Today bestseller who writes witty and sexy Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra.  Sally blasted onto the romance novel scene with the Naked Nobility Series, which has been translated into French, Indonesian, Russian, Spanish, and a bunch of other languages.  The last book in that series, The Naked King, was named as one of the top ten romances of 2011 by Booklist, the prestigious review journal of the American Library Association.

Sally has a new series called Duchess of Love, which launched in May with the digital novella prequel, The Duchess of Love.

The series has a great high concept:  a matchmaking duchess determined to find the perfect wives for her three sons.  She, of course, is the Duchess of Love, and the prequel novella tells the story of how she met her Duke.

The first full-length book in the series, Bedding Lord Ned, is now in stores.  Not surprising to anyone who’s read Sally’s books, it received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and four stars from RT Book Reviews:

“A pair of red drawers, a thieving cat, enchanting characters and the match-making Duchess of Love set the tone for MacKenzie’s new series.  With capable hands, she blends a touch of poignancy with just the right amount of humor into this delightful love story.”–RT Book Reviews

Here’s the blurb for Bedding Lord Ned:

Pleasure is in her future…

Ellie Bowman is determined: during this year’s Valentine house party, she will choose one of the men the matchmaking Duchess of Greycliffe–aka the Duchess of Love–has invited for her.  Unfortunately, that man will not be Lord Ned, the duchess’s second son.  Ned is still mourning his wife and will never see “trusty” Ellie as anything other than a childhood friend.  Now if only she could convince her heart of what her head already knows–and persuade the duchess’s thieving cat to stop stealing her red silk drawers and depositing them in Ned’s bed.

Lord Ned arrives at Greycliffe Castle vowing to finally cooperate with his mother’s matchmaking efforts.  He’s been a widower for four years; it’s time to put his past behind him.  He wants a family; he needs an heir.  Ergo, he must get a wife–and this year’s candidate even looks like his lost love.  But his old friend Ellie is behaving strangely, and Reggie, Mama’s cat, keeps bringing him a pair of shocking red underwear.  This outrageous, alluring scrap of silk couldn’t be Ellie’s, could it?  Suddenly his respectable old friend is invading his dreams in an utterly scandalous manner. 

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Readers, if you haven’t read Sally’s books then you must give her new series a try.  She’s a wonderful writer and her stories are funny, sexy, and full of heart.  What romance reader could ask for more?

For my readers today, Sally is giving away a copy of the last book in her previous series, The Naked King.  Let’s talk a bit about British History and pageantry.  Did any of you watch the Queen’s Jubilee this past weekend?  If so, what was your favorite part?  If you didn’t watch it, just tell me who your favorite member of the royal family is, and why.  One reader who comments will win a copy of Sally’s book.

Guest Author: Mia Marlowe & Giveaway!

I’m so pleased to have my pal and super-talented author Mia Marlowe visiting with us on the blog today.  Mia writes passionate and wonderfully evocative historical romance.  In fact, Publishers Weekly recently named her latest book, Touch Of A Rogue, as one of the Top Ten Romances for Spring 2012.  Congratulations, lady!

Like many authors these days (including moi), Mia has branched out into indie publishing.  Let’s find out all about that, shall we?

Mia, you have a very successful career in traditional print publishing, yet you’ve recently branched out into indie publishing. Why did you go this route? 

It all started in 2010 when I began to write a serialized novella on my website called A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS. Each month I added another chapter and invited readers to send in suggestions for which way the story should turn. About 6 months in, I found myself under contract to deliver 6 novels to 2 different publishing houses (Kensington and Sourcebooks) in a 15 month period. All extraneous writing had to go by the wayside.

But I always felt guilty about not finishing A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS. I felt I owed it to my readers to let them know what happened to Sebastian and Arabella. So when I was able, I wrote the rest of the story and offered it as an eNovella last fall. No one was more surprised than I when it hit the Top 10 in historical romance on Amazon and stayed there for weeks.

Then when my agent negotiated the reversion of rights to several of my books from Dorchester, it seemed only natural to epublish those stories as well. I love writing for my NY editors at Kensington and Sourcebooks and am very happy to have one foot in tradition publishing and another in the brave new world of indie.

Two of your books, Erinsong and MaidenSong take place during the Viking period, but your other historicals are set during the 19th Century. Why such a spread?

I’ve always had a passion for history that isn’t limited to Regency England. I wanted to write some dramatic, epic stories of seduction, betrayal and redemption. The world of the vikings is just the kind of broad canvas I wanted for a backdrop. Readers who enjoy my Dark Ages romances will be pleased to hear that a third “song” book is coming this fall—DRAGONSONG, my never-before-published finale to the viking series.

I’ve also written stories set in 16th century Scotland (SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER, Sourcebooks, Jan. 2012 with New York Times bestseller  Connie Mason) and Victorian era London-Paris-Hanover (TOUCH OF A THIEF, Kensington, May 2011). I love the historical research that goes into my books, but it’s the story that’s most important to me. That’s why I’m not married to one particular setting.

What can you tell us about your upcoming book, How To Distract A Duchess?

In HOW TO DISTRACT THE DUCHESS, an artistic widowed duchess mistakes Her Majesty’s covert agent for her next nude model. Since my Victorian ‘James Bond’ needs the information he believes the duchess possesses, what else can he do? He blithely strips down, whistling ‘Rule Britannia’ through his teeth.

It’s funny, sexy and was a delight to write.

This story was first published in 2009 as Distracting the Duchess, but has been vigorously revised since then.  I hope to have HOW TO DISTRACT A DUCHESS ready for your ereader in a few weeks.  😉

What’s this fab new indie publishing venture you’re involved in?

I’m so excited about this and it’s been so hard to keep mum about it, but now the cat is about to scratch its way out of the bag. I’ve been lucky enough to be included in a very talented group of NY published authors (included the fabulous Miss Vanessa Kelly!) who are also branching out into indie publishing. The list of authors reads like a “Who’s Who” of romance—bestsellers, award winners, and exceptional storytellers all! Ok, I’ll give. Here they all are: Monica Burns, Pamela Clare, Lila DiPasqua, Cheryl Holt, Vanessa Kelly, Kris Kennedy, Margo Maguire, Elisabeth Naughton, Sharon Page, Joan Swan and little ol’ me.

We’ve banded together to form Rock*It Reads, an eBook brand that offers readers a sort of “Good Reading Seal of Approval.” We’re committed to bringing the same high standards of writing, editing, and cover art to our indie works that we provide for our NY publishers. Check out what we offer at our website.

But that’s not all. There has been an explosion of self-pubbed works into the marketplace. We’re going to help you navigate the minefield of indie romances and find some real gems in our bi-monthly column for B& The kick off article is April 23rd! Hope to see you there.

Thanks for having me here today, Vanessa. I’d like to offer a random commenter their choice from among my Rock*It Reads eBooks.  Just answer the following question to be entered in the drawing.  Is there a time period/setting that would cause you to absolutely refuse to read a story that lives there? What unique venue do you wish an author would choose?

Find Mia online at , at Facebook and Twitter

Great interview, Mia!  Thank you so much.  And I can’t tell you how happy I am to be included with so many talented writers in Rock*It Reads!